(WSB video: First-half setup resulting in #32 Meghan Fiso basket)
5:11 PM: We’re at Sammamish High School in Bellevue, where the West Seattle High School girls have just advanced in the district playoffs with a victory over Seattle Prep, 72-60. Photos and details to come later tonight. The girls play here again at 3:30 pm Thursday vs. the winner of tonight’s Rainier Beach vs. Bellevue game.
ADDED 11:20 PM: Bellevue won that game, so like the boys, the girls also will face Bellevue next – but in this case, the girls, defending district champs, will be vying for a berth in the finals. Here’s how today’s game went vs. the Panthers:
The Wildcats were already out to a 10-3 lead when we arrived a few minutes into the game. But the Panthers clawed their way back and tied it 10-10 with 3 minutes to go in the first quarter. West Seattle didn’t let them get beyond that, and led 18-14 going into the second quarter.
Their lead didn’t widen much until a three-pointer by #32 Meghan Fiso with two minutes to go. She was the top WSHS scorer with 24:
Those two minutes before halftime did not go Westside’s way. After that Fiso three, the Panthers answered with 2 threes of their own. WSHS #34 Anissa Babitu nailed one too – but with an ensuing basket and foul shot, Prep was just one point behind, headed into the locker room for the mid-game break, 33-32.
They did not start the second half with a good look – Prep had a shot-clock violation. After a Fiso bucket, #20 Grace Sarver was fouled, and coolly sunk both shots. She brought in 11 points:
The pattern continued through much of the second half – neither team dominated; the Wildcats kept a few points ahead most of the way, but had some trouble hanging onto the ball, and briefly lost the lead at 2:20 left in the third quarter, when Prep moved ahead, 43-41. Two Sarver baskets, and scrappy ball-handling by #11 Jasmine Gayles (8-point game), helped take care of that problem:
Shortly thereafter, Fiso sunk two in a row, and the third quarter ended with the Wildcats up 50-43. They kept the lead the rest of the way, with everyone contributing, including #4 Kelsey Lenzie (8-point game):
Prep got within three at 5:40 to go but a huge Sarver three-pointer doubled the WSHS lead at that point and it got wider from there, into double digits in the final two minutes, a 15-point lead just before Prep’s final basket proved to be the game’s final scoring, with head coach Darnell Taylor‘s Wildcats winning 72-60 and heading into the district semifinals.